Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tarot and Quantum Physics

The beginnings of a thought that’s been puzzling in me for a while:

When you shuffle the tarot deck, you can think about the resulting order of the cards in at least two different ways. First, you can say that the order is predictable, because if you track the position of each card as you shuffle, you could tell where every card in the deck would end up. That’s real-world physics, where the outcome is measurable.

The second way you can look at it, though, is through the lens of quantum physics, where the state of a thing is unknown and actually does not exist until and unless someone observes it. In that way, the top card of the shuffled deck can literally be anything at all.

The tarot version of Schrödinger’s cat, IMO, is what allows the tarot to be so incredibly useful as a tool for guidance.

And yes, of course, there’s the matter of subjective interpretation and all that—but for the moment, all I’m puzzling over is the way the cards end up in the stack. I consciously and deliberately invoke quantum physics when I shuffle.

So, says the skeptic, you’re saying that as soon as you turn the cards face down they could be anything at all on the other side, right? Well, yes and no. I think that our minds, depending as they do on our “real”-world experience of linearity and causality, can’t accept that. But I do believe that the more we practice this other view, the easier it becomes to turn off our measuring devices when we want to.

Anyway. Just rambling on a Sunday morning.

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